Sunday, April 21, 2024

[email protected]

How to Stay Organized as a First Time Travel Nurse


Congratulations, you landed the job, and are excited to experience something new!

Life as a travel nurse is extremely rewarding, and provides the additional benefit of letting you broaden your horizons and explore new places.

If this is your first gig as a travel nurse, figuring out what you need and how to stay organized can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry though, we go over all of it here. The goal is to make you feel as confident and prepared as possible; you got this.

Important Documentation Organization

Being organized, especially when it comes to storing (and remembering where you’re storing) your important documents is vital.

Here’s a list of some of the documents you may need:

  • Personal ID (drivers license, passport)
  • Nursing Credentials
  • Nursing License
  • Nursing Certifications
  • Medical Records
  • Fingerprint Cards

Be sure to check with the state and/or facility you’ll be working at to see what specific requirements they have.

It’s a good idea to make a photocopy of all of your documents, and scan them to your computer. Additionally, there are companies that store the information electronically for you.

Keep all the originals together, somewhere safe.

There’s nothing worse than tearing your hair out as you try to hunt for a misplaced piece of paperwork. Getting replacements is a hassle – it takes time and costs money.

Destination Related Organization

Knowing where you’re going is the best way to prepare and organize. There are a few questions you need to ask, as knowing the answer to them will inform what you should bring.

Organization for New Home

When it comes to housing travel nurses and other members of the nomadic workforce, there are many different options.

Moving to a fully-furnished space with a kitchen that’s stocked with dishes and appliances is ideal, because it means you don’t have to worry about packing and providing all those extra items yourself.

Make sure you have a clear picture of where you’ll be staying, and what appliances and amenities are included.

If you have to provide your own dishes, pots, and cooking devices, try and be as minimal as possible. Thankfully, there are small versions of everything, and things like toaster ovens and personal sized blenders are relatively inexpensive.

Rather than buying a whole bunch of things and lugging them along with you, start with the least amount of stuff. Arrive at your new location, and only buy something if you actually need it. You may be surprised at how little you can get away with having, without compromising on taste and quality of the food you’re preparing.

Organizing Appropriately for Climate and Lifestyle

Having an idea what the climate is like will inform your clothing choice. If the region you’re headed to is known for bitter cold winters, you may need to up your winter survival gear, and invest in a big long puffy parka and additional layers. If you’re heading to a city that has incredible restaurants, music venues, art museums and other places you can’t wait to check out, pack the clothes you’ll enjoy wearing when you head out and explore it all.

Self-Care Organization

What are your non-negotiables when it comes to self-care? Or… what practices are you hoping to incorporate as part of a new routine? Relocating is the perfect reset. If you love outdoorsy activities and there’s plenty of them where you’re going, bring your hiking boots and trekking poles. Can’t get enough books? Bring a Kindle. You’ll always have something to read, and can store a whole library’s worth of literature in something the size of a small paperback. If you love yoga, bring along your mat so you can feel right at home at the new studio.

Be sure to factor in the things you love, the things that recharge you and help you decompress, and integrate them into your new location.

Less is More

When it comes to being organized as a travel nurse, less is more. It’s a common tendency for people venturing out into the unknown to want to overpack, to make up for what they aren’t sure about by being overprepared.

The problem with this is you’ll have a lot more stuff to fuss over, organize, and haul about.

The less you bring with you, the easier it is to keep organized. Some people choose to invest in high quality and versatile clothing, so that no matter what, they love what they’re wearing and it will last despite multiple washings.

Be realistic about your wardrobe. If you’re a jeans and T-shirt kind of person, yet have a ton of colorful clothing you never reach for, just pack what you know you’re going to wear.


Life as a travel nurse can take you anywhere. If you wish you’d packed something, you can always include it next time. But more often than not, you’ll find the best and easiest way to stay organized is to bring less.



Related Stories